Full System Upgrade | Aluminum Manufacturer


A leading aluminum manufacturing facility recently approached the Polaris Automation team seeking assistance in executing a comprehensive system upgrade. The plant had been experiencing frequent downtime issues caused by outdated control equipment that had been in place for more than two decades. Compounding the challenge, the software they were using was now obsolete.

Proposed Solution

This project required multiple tasks to make the overall system more efficient. Our scope of work included the consolidation of six programmable logic controllers (PLCs) into a single PLC, the conversion of legacy GE 90-70 PLC logic to Rockwell, all while preserving the existing GE distributed I/O systems and communication networks. Multiple ABB drives were also upgraded as part of the endeavor.

The successful execution of each of these tasks necessitated the deployment of ProSoft modules to run both systems in parallel. Data was collected from both systems, with thousands of signals being historized. This data was then used to generate reports that validated the new PLC’s performance, ensuring it mirrored the existing system identically.


Following nearly six months of reporting and validation, we executed the final cutover to put the new Rockwell system in full control. We are proud to report that we completed this extensive upgrade well within the scheduled time.

Since the transition, the production line has been operating with increased reliability and little downtime. We are looking forward to the next phases of this upgrade initiative, which will involve replacing the GE I/O systems and upgrading both hardware and logic for approximately 25 drives.

Industry Competencies

Remelt Controls

  • Melter and Holder Temperature Controls
  • Burner System Management and Flame Safety
  • Ancillary Equipment Controls

Casting Pit Controls

  • Speed Control
  • Mold Lube Controls
  • Cooling Water Control
  • Table Tilt/Lift Control
  • Alloy Recipe System
  • Casting Quality Systems

Extrusion Press Systems

  • Billet Pre-Heat Furnace Controls
  • Taper Quenches
  • Press Speed Controls
  • Die Temperature Controls
  • Spray/Standing-Wave Quenches
  • Pullers
  • Stretchers
  • Crop/Finish Saws
  • Material Handling
  • Press Recipe Systems, including:
    • – Tie-ins to Plant Order System
    • – Track and trace

Heat Treat System Controls

  • Annealing and Homogenizing Furnace Temperature Controls
  • Burner System Management and Flame Safety
  • Recipe Systems
  • Heat Treat Quality Systems

Billet/Log Cut-to-Length Systems